The Fate of Roman Emperors

  By Heraclius

I decided to find out the fate of Roman/Byzantine Emperors. There is a signficant number of Emperors who died in mysterious circumstances or whos fate is not known, so its entirely possible this list is not complete or totally accurate.

I. Roman Emperor who died of natural causes/disease etc

Emperor and Year of Death
Cause of Death
Augustus AD 14
Natural Causes
Tiberius AD 37
Natural Causes
Vespasian AD 79
Natural Causes
Titus AD 81
Nerva AD 98
Natural Causes / Age
Trajan AD  117
Hadrian AD 138
Natural Causes
Antoninus Pius AD1 61
Lucius Verus AD 169
Food Poisoning 
Marcus Aurelius AD 180
Died on campaign 
Septimius Severus AD 211
Natural Causes
Claudius II Gothicus AD 270
Constantius I Chlorus AD 306
Natural Causes
Galerius AD 311
Natural Causes
Diocletian AD 313
Natural Causes in retirement
Constantine I the great AD 337
Natural Causes
Valentinian I AD 375
Burst Blood Vessel 
Theodosius I the great AD 395
Natural Causes
Arcadius AD 408
Natural Causes
Constantius III AD 421
Natural Causes
Honorius AD 423
Natural Causes
Marcian AD 457
Possibly Gangrene
Anicius Olybrius AD 472
Natural Causes
Leo I AD 474
Leo II AD 474 Unknown Disease
Zeno AD 491
Natural Causes
Anastasius AD 518
Natural Causes
Justin I AD 527 Natural Causes
Justinian I the great AD 565
Natural Causes
Justin II AD 578
Natural Causes
Tiberius II Constantinus AD 582
Unkonwn Illness
Constantine III AD 641  Tuberculosis
Constantine IV AD 685  Dysentery
Leo III the Isaurian AD 741  Naural Causes
Constantine V AD 775 Died on Campaign
Leo IV AD 780  Natural Causes
Theophilus AD 842  Natural Causes
Leo VI AD 912
Natural Causes
Alexander III AD 913
Natural Causes
Constantine VII Porphyrogenitos "The Purple-born" AD 959
Natural Causes
John I Tzimisces AD 976
Natural Causes
Basil II Bulgaroktonus “The Bulgar slayer” AD 1025
Natural Causes
Constantine VIII AD 1028
Natural Causes
Michael IV AD 1041
Natural Causes
Constantine IX AD 1055
Natural Causes
Michael VI Stratioticus AD 1057
Natural Causes
Constantine X Ducas AD 1067
Natural Causes
Alexius I Comnenus AD 1118
Natural Causes
Manual I Comnenus Megas AD 1180
Michael VIII Palaeologus AD 1282
Natural Causes
Andronicus III AD 1341 Natural Causes
John V Palaeologus AD 1391
Natural Causes
Manual II Palaeologus AD 1425
Natural Causes
John VIII Palaeologus AD 1448 Natural Causes
TOTAL: 55 Roman/Byzantine Emperors died of Natural cause/Diseases


II. Emperors who died by Assassination/murder/execution
Emperor and Year of Death
Cause of Death
Gaius Caligula AD 41 Conspiracy led by Praetorian guard officers
Claudius AD 54
Poisoned, probably by Agrippina
Galba AD 69
Murdered by Otho
Vitellius AD 69
Murdered by troops of Vespasian
Domitian AD 96
Stabbed to death by a steward
Commodus AD 192
Strangled by a wrestler
Didius Julianus AD 193
Decapitated on the orders of Septimius Severus
Geta AD 211
Murdered y Caracalla
Caracalla AD 217
Assassinated by an attendant
Macrinus AD 218
Diadumenian AD 218
Executed by decapitation
Elagabulus AD 222
Alexander Severus AD 235
Murdered in a legionary mutiny
Maximinius Thrax AD 238
Murdered by the Praetorians
Pupienus Maximus AD 238
Murdered by the Praetorians
Balbinus AD 238
Murdered by the Praetorians
Phillip the Arab AD 249
Murdered by Decius
Gallus AD 253
Murdered in a Legionary Mutiny
Volusianus AD 253
Murdered in a Legionary Mutiny
Aemilianus AD 253
Murdered in a Legionary Mutiny
Gallienus AD 268
Murdered at some point during the battle of Naissus
Aurelian AD 272
Murdered by the Praetorians
Tacitus AD 276
Assassinated, probably by his own soldiers
Florianus AD 276
Assasinated by his own soldiers
Probus AD 282
Murdered by his own soldiers
Carinus AD 285
Assassinated by a tribune
Constans I AD 350
Murdered by Magnentius
Gratians AD 383
Murdered by rebellious generals
Valentinan III AD 455
Assassinated by followers of Flavius Aetius
Petronius Maximus AD 455
Kiled either by rioters or a roman soldier
Anthemius AD 472
Executed by Ricimir
Julius Nepos AD 480
Murdered by his own soldiers
Maurice I AD 602
Murdered during a mutiny by mercenaries
Phocas "the Tyrant" AD 610
Executed by Heraclius personally and beheaded
Constans II AD 668
Assassinated by his chamberlain
Leontis AD 705
Executed by Justinian II
Tiberius III AD 05
Executed by orders of Justinian II
Justinian II "Rhinotmetus" AD 711
Executed during a rebellion
Leo V "the Armenian" AD 820
Michael III AD 867
Assassinated by Basil the Macedonian
Nicephoros II Phocas AD 969
Assassinated by John Tzimisces
Romanus III AD 1034
Assassinated, possibly by his wife via poison
Alexius II Comnenus AD 1183
Murdered or strangled with a bow string on the orders of Andronicus comnenos
TOTAL: 43 Emperors died from Assassination/murder/execution

I was actually quite stunned that fewer Emperors were murdered than died naturally. However there were also emperors who were...

III. Deposed/blinded/exiled/mutilated/imprisoned/tortured or abdicated
Emperor and Year of Event
Diocletian AD 305
Voluntary abdication
Maximian AD 305-308
Forced Abdication (two times)
Licinius AD 324
Abdicated and later executed by order of Constantine
Majorian AD 461
Forced abdication by Ricimir
Glyerius AD 474
Forced Abdication by Julius Nepos
Romulus Augustulus AD 476
Deposed by Odoacer
Heracleonas AD 641
Deposed and murtilated
Justinian II Rhinotmetus AD 695
Deposed, mutilated, and exiled
Leontius AD 696
Deposed, Imprisoned  and mutilated by Tiberius III
Tiberius III AD 705
Deposed by Justinian II
Philippicus Bardanes AD 713
Deposed and blinded by two of his generals
Anastasius II AD 715
Deposed by Theodosius III
Theodosius III AD 717
Deposed Abdicated
Constantine VI AD 797
Deposed nad blinded dying from his wounds
Stauracius AD 811
Deposed by Michael Rhangabes
Michael I Rhangabes AD 813
Romanus I AD 944
Deposed by his sons
Michael V Calaphates AD 1042
Deposed in a revolt and blinded
Michael VI Stratioticus AD 1057
Deposed by rebels
Isaac I Comnenus AD 1059
Abdicated due to illness
Romanus IV Diogenes AD 1071
Deposed and blinded
Michael VII Ducas AD 1078
Abdicated during a revolt
Nicephorus III AD 1081
Deposed by Alexius Comnenos
Andronicus I Comennus AD 1185
Deposed and tortured
Isaac II Angelus AD 1195
Deposed, blinded and imprisoned by Alexius Angelus
Alexius III AD 1203
Alexius IV Angelus AD 1024
Deposed by Alexius Murtzouphlos
Alexius Murtzouphlos AD 1024
Fled (deposed) and later blinded
Andronicus II Palaeologus AD 1328
John VI Cantacuzenus AD 1353
John V Palaelogus AD 1376-90
Deposed by Andronicus and then John
Andronicus IV Palaeologus AD 1379
Partially blinded by John V and later deposed and totally blinded
Total: 33 Emperors

I didn't include claimants to the throne or wannabe Emperors. The list does not include accidental death and other less important fates. Again, any Emperor who died under circumstances that arent entirely clear has been excluded. Also its gets very confusing on who to include in these lists when it comes to joint Emperorship and temporary Emperors etc.